As neighbouring countries, Latvia and Belarus have many practical issues to be solved jointly. “I am pleased that both countries have good neighbourly relations and a constructive political dialogue that has gained a new momentum this year, as it opens new opportunities for cooperation in economics, education, tourism, and other areas,” emphasised Gundars Daudze, Deputy Speaker of the Saeima, while meeting with senior officials of the Belarusian parliament during his working visit to Minsk.
The Deputy Speaker of the Saeima met with Mikhail Myasnikovich, Chairman of the Council of the Republic of the National Assembly of the Republic of Belarus, his Deputy Marianna Shchotkina, and Vladislav Shchepov, Chairman of the Standing Commission of the House of Representatives on Economic Policy.
During the meeting with the parliamentarians from the neighbouring country, Gundars Daudze emphasised the historic character of the visit – the previous visit of the Saeima Presidium to Belarus took place in 1998.
The two sides expressed their satisfaction with the active political dialogue, including among parliamentary committees and friendship groups of the two countries. This is a great opportunity to directly address issues of vital importance to both countries, said Daudze.
Belarus is a significant foreign trade partner of Latvia, as it is the fourth largest trading partner outside the European Union. It is positive that the turnover of goods between the two countries has recently increased, but we are far from having exhausted the potential of economic cooperation, stressed the Deputy Speaker of the Saeima. Latvia is particularly interested in developing cooperation in trade, transit, and logistics. Fostering mutual investment as well as cross-border cooperation, is also essential for the two neighbouring countries.
Latvia and Belarus have a longstanding and thorough experience in logistics, but there are now opportunities for expanding the cooperation. As a particularly perspective model of cooperation Daudze mentioned the Chinese cargo transit from the Great Stone industrial park in Belarus to destinations in Northern Europe, using the advantages of Latvian ports, railways and special economic zones. In addition, the head of the Latvian delegation briefed the Belarusian colleagues on prospective transport and logistics projects in our country and mutually beneficial investment opportunities in Latvian transport infrastructure.
The parties acknowledged that both countries have a constructive dialogue on security policy issues and that ministries of the two countries hold regular consultations. The concluded bilateral defence cooperation agreement is a good example of promoting transparency and trust in the region, emphasised Daudze. Similarly, the parliamentarians from both countries agreed that the work on a bilateral nuclear safety agreement should be concluded as soon as possible.
The 2021 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship, to be hosted jointly by Latvia and Belarus, will be an important event not only for the world of ice hockey, but also as an event that will bring closer our countries and people. Latvians and Belarussians have a love for ice hockey, and the organisation of this Championship is our mutual opportunity and responsibility, stressed the Deputy Speaker of the Saeima. In the context of the Championship, it would be very useful to facilitate the issuance of EU visas to Belarusian citizens, and Latvia supports the resolution of this issue as soon as possible, said Deputy Speaker Daudze.
The delegation, headed by Daudze, is on a return visit to Belarus upon the invitation of the Deputy Speaker’s Belarusian counterpart Marianna Shchotkina, who visited the Saeima in June of this year.
On his visit to Belarus, the Deputy Speaker of the Saeima is accompanied by Jānis Vucāns, Chairman of the Budget and Finance (Taxation) Committee of the Saeima; Romāns Naudiņš, Chairman of the Economic, Agricultural, Environmental and Regional Policy Committee; committee member Anrijs Matīss; Artūrs Rubiks, Chairman of the Group for Interparliamentary Relations with Belarus.
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Saeima Press Service